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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29004
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Is a prolapsed tear duct glands of spaniels commonly called

Customer Question

Is a prolapsed tear duct glands of spaniels commonly called "Cherry eye" genetic. Some say yes but a recent study out of the Univ. of NC says no It's caused by an injury to the duct.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I believe that you're referring to third eyelid gland prolapse. There's little question that it's heritable in American and English cocker spaniels, English bulldog, beagle, and shih tzu breeds. It wouldn't make sense that these breeds were simply being traumatized more than other breeds unless there were a predisposing cause...which appears to be a weakness of connective tissue attaching the base of the gland to the periorbital structures. According to the NC study, strain, dirt, pollen or other objects being trapped under the eye ligament structure then results in the "cherry eye". One way to look at this is that the weakness is heritable but until the ligament is traumatized, a cherry eye doesn't arise.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.